Smokies tourists come for fall color, find winter white

Smokies tourists come for fall color, find winter white

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Wild turkeys were the only ones on the roads Tuesday. Wild turkeys were the only ones on the roads Tuesday.
As the day wore on, the snow moved down to lower elevations. As the day wore on, the snow moved down to lower elevations.
Sarah Tatum and her group were forced inside because of the cold, snow and closed roads. Sarah Tatum and her group were forced inside because of the cold, snow and closed roads.

By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter

GATLINBURG (WATE) - Hurricane Sandy continued to drop early snow on the Smoky Mountains right as many tourists were arriving to see the fall colors.

The picturesque winter scene many saw Tuesday morning wasn't exactly what one might expect in the Smokies this time of year.

"I was here three weeks ago in short-sleeve weather and I never dreamed in three weeks it would change this drastically," said Brenda Stockman.

Stockman was with a group of more than 30 seniors from Lufkin, Texas. Each of them had high hopes for their trip.

"We came to see all the fall leaves and how beautiful it is up here and the pumpkins and the decorations," said fellow traveler, Sarah Tatum.

But Mother Nature had other plans.

"Now we came here in snow," Tatum said. "We didn't even bring snow boots or anything."

"Snow on the top of the mountains with roads closed, wet leaves soggy," Stockman added.

17 inches of snow had fallen in the higher elevations by daybreak with 4 foot drifts. But as the day wore on, the snow moved down to lower elevations.

Many tourists welcomed the snow and took advantage of the photo opportunity. But with several roads closed preventing them from going further, the group from Lufkin was back on the move.

"We'll go back down the mountain and visit Gatlinburg and shop," said Tatum.

They hoped the snow wouldn't come down any further until they could return to the warmth of Texas.

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